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Articles by Melissa Sweet

Intergenerational report overlooks the valuable contributions of older people

In the first article in a two-part series on the health implications of the Federal Government’s much-critiqued Intergenerational Report, Associate Professor Briony Dow from the National Ageing Research Institute says it overlooks the significant contributions that older people are making to society, especially as carers. Briony Dow writes: Australia is looking to its older people [...]

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Mental health groups unite in concern over funding uncertainty

Anxiety caused by uncertainty and chaos in federal policy is not limited to the Indigenous affairs portfolio; mental health groups have united to express concern for the uncertainty facing many community mental health services. The letter below was delivered to the offices of the Prime Minister and Health Minister yesterday afternoon. (For further background, see [...]

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Calling innovators and entrepreneurs: Startup Weekend for Health in Brisbane

If you’re interested in startups in health, then it looks like you might want to be in Brisbane this weekend. Up to 100 health entrepreneurs will spend 54 hours formulating and pitching a new health-related business at a Startup Weekend for Health. The event is not for profit and organised by volunteers who have backgrounds [...]

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A call to remove alcohol from the Official Drinks Cabinet of sports

Anyone for cricket? Or, given the avalanche of alcohol advertising hitting our World Cup screens, perhaps it’s more appropriate to ask, anyone want to get legless? According to Danica Keric, Julia Stafford & Mike Daube from the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth at Curtin University in Perth, it’s also appropriate to ask: [...]

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#NSW Votes lacks a vision for dealing with poverty and disadvantage

The two critical issues for NSW electors on Saturday appear to be concerns about coal seam gas, and ownership of the poles and wires of the state’s electricity network, according to former MP Tony Windsor, who expects the vote to be close (writing in The Saturday Paper). Meanwhile, Tracy Howe, CEO of the Council of [...]

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Rural health leader scoops an “interview” with the PM… #LifestyleChoice

The Prime Minister’s description of life in remote Aboriginal communities as a “lifestyle choice” has met a huge backlash, being described as deeply insensitive and racist (Gulf News), unfortunate (WA Premier Colin Barnett), a blunder (French newspapers), hurtful (community members) and appalling (Pat Dodson). The comments also ignore the importance of remote communities in caring for country. It seems that [...]

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Calling researchers to document the health impacts of chaos in Indigenous affairs policy

Hopefully, somewhere there are researchers planning to document the impacts of the processes and outcomes of the Federal Government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS); not least because of the likelihood of negative consequences for the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities. It seems a safe guess that any such investigation would find the process has [...]

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Is the Dietitians Association of Australia in the pocket of Big Food?

Public health lawyer, author and blogger Michele Simon has been investigating conflicts of interest and the Dietitians Association of Australia.  Simon, president of Eat Drink Politics, a corporate watchdog consulting firm in the US, has released an Australian edition of “And Now A Word From Our Sponsors”, detailing close links between the food industry and DAA. [...]

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Wonky Health goes out with a bang. And an investigation of Evidence-Based Voting

It is a truth almost universally acknowledged that the state of Australian politics is deeply unsatisfying for those who care about evidence, outcomes and fairness. Perhaps it is time for a novel concept, Evidence-Based Voting? In the final instalment of his crowd-funded Wonky Health column, Dr Tim Senior investigates what difference it might make if [...]

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On life and death: poetry of the paramedic

As regular readers may remember, Croakey has been running an occasional series, Poems of Public Health. I happened to mention this at a University of Canberra writing retreat this weekend, and one of the participants – Allison Ballard, a lawyer who previously worked as an intensive care paramedic – produced this poem especially for Croakey [...]

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Womens Agenda

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